Everett and Katie were sitting on the bench waiting to be seen by the principal. Both were tense.
“I cannot believe I am sitting here. I never got in trouble when I was actually in school. Yet now, thanks to our son, here I am.” Everett grumbled.
“I have. Not fun from that side, and I suspect from the parents’ side it won’t be either.” Katie replied.
The door opened and a woman entered, the secretary was on the phone and just gestured to a free spot, when the new arrival noticed Rett and Katie.
“You must be the Camerons.” she said holding out her hand, which both of them shook, while she continued.
“I am Christine Welsh, Emmi’s sister and legal guardian. I cannot believe she got into trouble like this. I never got in trouble at school.”
She sighed and sat down.
“I was just telling my wife the same. Josh has always been such a good kid, just recently he seems like a totally different person. Even at home he suddenly argues and behaves oddly. Something’s gonna have to give – soon!”
The door to the office opened and the principal called all of them in. As they entered they saw Josh and Emerson on chairs alongside the wall, both staring at their feet.
The adults were greeted, the principal introduced himself as Mr. Skinner, everbody was seated, then the principal started in right away.
“Mr. and Mrs. Cameron, Miss Welsh, thank you for coming on such short notice. I know your time is valuable, so I won’t beat around the bush. I wish I had different news, but I have no other choice than to suspend both Joshua and Emerson for two weeks. We have a zero tolerance policy for breaking the rules and those two did know very well what they were doing was wro…”
“Suspension?! My son?!” Everett interrupted.
“Yes, Mr. Cameron, I am afraid so.” the principal remained calm yet firm.
“For what? Emmi, what did you do?” Christine looked just as shocked as Everett.
“Yeah, about that, Miss Welsh. Emerson and Joshua were caught doing … uh .. being … well … both were skipping French class in order to engage in … uh … intimacy underneath the bleachers.” principal Skinner now explained.
“What?!” Everett looked ready to keel over.
“Sounds like they got some sort of French in after all …” Katie mumbled, making both kids briefly snort laughter, while the adults looked at her appalled.
“Mrs. Cameron, I hardly find it the time nor place to make light of a very serious situation. The school nurse has given a pregnancy test kit to young Miss Welsh here and we ask you Miss Welsh to make sure she takes it, just to make sure.” the Mr. Skinner told her plainly.
“PREGNANCY TEST!?” Everett got pale, just like Christine Welsh.
“Yes, Mr. Cameron, your son and Emerson were engaged in sexual intercourse on school property and while they should have been in class. Aside from the obvious embarrassment that caused for everyone involved, it is technically grounds for expulsion, but due the the exemplary record of both, aside from one smudge due to Josh’s recent misstep with the insects, they both are two of the top students at my school, which is why I chose to give both a fair chance for redemption. Once they return after the two weeks, during which I fully expect them to do all the homework assignments and keep up with the progress, even the smallest failure to abide by school rules will lead to immediate expulsion without any more option for leniency. There will be nothing I can do about that then.” Skinner explained.
“MY TEENAGE SON HAD SEX DURING CLASS?!” Rett looked ready to explode, seemingly unsure at whom to direct his anger first, the principal or his son.
“Rett, at home. Please, calm down. We’ll figure this out.” Katie tried her best to calm her husband.
The teens were released into their guardians’ care. The entire drive home Everett laid into Josh.
Even while walking into their home and when seated around the dining room table he never stopped his lecture.
“…and you better hope that girl is not pregnant! You will finish school and then you WILL go to college and get a solid degree!”
“Rett! Come on! Enough already … he’s got it now.” Katie tried.
“Katie, he obviously cannot function like a human these days! Needless to say that the car you wanted is history. You are not mature enough to be trusted to operate your own car. Also it appears that you cannot handle a girlfriend. Your urges cloud your brain, evidently. I prohibit you from having a girlfriend until you have proven to me that you are mature enough for one! You will not see that girl again unless you happen to run into each other BRIEFLY in the hallways!” Everett roared.
Josh looked like a heap of sorrow slouched on his chair, until the last few sentences.
“Dad, you cannot break us up! I love Emmi and she me! What is so wrong about that?” Josh argued, stunned.
“What is wrong about that, the boy asks? Were you asleep just now? Your mother and I had to leave work early to fetch you from school after hearing something so outlandish from your principal that I am still dizzy from all of it! Do you know how humiliating that is for us?! If that goes public, what will it look like for EC Architects?! Instead of portraying that we know what we are doing, reliable to a fault, it appears that we condone Sodom & Gomorrah!”
“If you weren’t so strict about us being … physical, we would have sat through stupid French and done that Sodom & Gomorrah stuff at home, like normal people!” Josh snapped back at his father.
“Watch it son! No parent in their right mind would just stand by and let his very immature teen do THAT! Under any circumstance! You will not see Emerson again and that’s that!”
“I HATE YOU!!!” Josh spat the words at Everett.
“That does it! I am giving you reason to hate me! You are going to military school or some boarding school – case closed!!”
“Everett, I won’t let you do that!” Katie warned.
“Oh, it will be done! I have had it! Consider that boy ENROLLED! Go to your room now, you are GROUNDED until further notice!”
A knock on the door.
“Leave me alone!” Josh sounded desperate and angry.
“It’s me, Evey.”
“Whatever!” he said as she already entered
“Hey …” she greeted.
“If they sent you, you turn right back around …”
“They didn’t. Come on now. You know me better than that. I am not a rat.”
“I don’t know anything anymore.”
Evey sat next to him and rubbed her younger brother’s back, then pulled him into a hug. She felt sorry for him.
“Look, daddy is just upset. I am sure it will all calm down …”
“He forbids me to see her. Wants us to break up. How can he do that? He already called her sister and she is even on board with that. He said she is sending her away to some boarding school in some foreign country. She can’t do that, Evey, right?”
“I guess she can. I mean, she’s her guardian and they seem to have the cash for it.”
“Evey, can’t you talk sense into them? PLEASE? I cannot live without Emmi!”
“I already tried. Daddy is really angry, he doesn’t hear a single word I say. Mom can’t even get through to him. But the good news is, Emmi’s not pregnant. Yay, right?”
“Is he really sending me to some military school?”
“I don’t know. Mom is really pissed at him for saying that and for trying to break you two up, but she cannot control what her sister does. Looks like he is getting his will, one way or another. But mom and dad are at odds about sending you to another school. Mom is really not happy with dad about that.”
“I cannot live without her, Evey!”
“Oh, Josh-y, come on. Just two years, then she’ll be back. You can write, email, call. You can do it. What’s two years if you have forever, right?” Evey tried to cheer him up.
Two evenings later …
“Daddy, I swear I don’t know anything. I would tell you and mom, I do not want you to worry. Promise!” Evey told her father, who looked worse for the wear.
“That boy will be the death of me. Runs away with that girl! If we do not find them … your mother is so worried … and he is so immature for his age!”
Everleigh was worried, too. About her father, who looked like he was about to have a heart attack, stroke and nervous breakdown all at the same time. About her mother who barely stopped crying long enough to speak a few sentences.
About her 16 year old brother, obviously, who was out there somewhere out there with his 15 year old girlfriend. But also about her parents as a unity. As long as Everleigh could remember back her parents’ marriage had been rock-solid. Ever since that incident at school though, it had taken a hard knock. Katie was very upset about her husband’s outburst and threats, which in her mind caused their son to run away from home. She blamed her husband for Josh being missing. And Evey was torn up in the middle of the whole mess, helpless.
“Let’s just drive past all of his spots again, and check with his friends one more time.” she suggested, grasping for littlest gleams of hope.
“Evey, there is no use. I have done all that a hundred times. If I call or drive by any of those places one more time, they will ban me or file for restraining orders. I do not know where he is, but he is not anywhere around here.”
In the meantime …